Since October 13th, Leonardo da Vinci’s Christ portrait Salvator Mundi, or “Savior of the World,” has traveled the globe from Hong Kong to San Francisco, and has been celebrated as the “greatest artistic rediscovery of the 21st century” by Christie’s. Now it’s back in New York, where, on November 15th, it will go on offer in the house’s Post-War and Contemporary evening auction, where it is estimated to sell for $100 million.
Fewer than 20 works by Leonardo are known to exist in the world, and the last authentic original was discovered in 1909, so the arrival of this previously unpublished painting by the Renaissance master is considered a seismic Leonardo event. The painting was presented as “discovered” at a 2011 exhibition at London’s National Gallery, to great international fanfare. Christie’s chairman Loïc Gouzer said in a statement that “the opportunity to bring this masterpiece to the market is an honor that comes around once in a lifetime.”
But how did the auction house come to the estimate of $100 million? Works of art that have sold for more than $100 million at auction are rare, but we’ve seen a number of them in recent years. An untitled Jean-Michel Basquiat painting sold for $110.5 million in May; in 2015, Pablo Picasso’s Women of Algiers sold for $179 million and an Amedeo Modigliani nude sold for $170 million; and in 2013, an Andy Warhol car crash painting sold for $105.4 million. Read more